Nutrition Expert Swears By Pineapple For Fighting Off The Flu, And Studies Back It Up

Have you ever considered reaching for a slice of pineapple when you start to experience the dreaded first symptoms of flu? Probably not, right?

It’s a fruit that’s synonymous with bright fruit salads and summer cocktails but not necessarily considered a flu season go-to. 

Although the vibrant fruit is packed with cold and flu-fighting vitamins and enzymes, a new study has found that Australians are more likely to be reaching for natural supplements including vitamin C, olive leaf extract and echinacea (29 percent).

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Garlic, ginger and onions were also high on the list (18 percent), as well as getting more sleep (16 percent) or eating fresh oranges (16 percent) as self-prescribed remedies when a runny nose or scratchy throat arrives, as found by a study conducted by Pure Gold Pineapple. 

Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, only two percent said they considered chomping on a piece of pineapple when they started feeling sick -- despite it being the only fruit that contains bromelain. 

Photo: Getty Images

If you’re not sure what bromelain is, you’re not alone. 

The study found that only 20 percent of those surveyed had heard of bromelain -- an enzyme that has been found to boost immunity, reduce inflammation and promote a healthy digestive system in the way it breaks down proteins. 

It’s something that PE teacher, fitness instructor and nutrition expert Ali Cavill has been well aware of, with her love of the fruit only increased as she began researching its unique properties throughout her career in the fitness industry. 

“I knew it was delicious but when I found out the properties, I didn’t actually realise the fibre content, the digestive properties, the vitamin C, the manganese,” she told 10 daily. 

Ali went from having the occasional piece of pineapple in her fruit salad to eating the tropical fruit “about three to four times a week”. 

“Now, if I get issues with speaking [Ali uses her outdoor voice a lot] or a lot of people around me come down with a cold or flu, I’m diving into the chunks of pineapple,” she laughed. 

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Ali isn’t too fussy when it comes to how she prepares and eats pineapple but insists that chopping up the spiky fruit isn’t as hard as it looks. 

"It’s actually quite quick, it’s not such a big deal that people make it out to be. It’s literally chopping both ends and then down the side and it’s ready! " she told 10 daily. 

Ali stores her chopped up chunks in the freezer but also has a few emergency tins of pineapple on hand -- just so she never runs out.

Photo: Getty Images.

The fitness expert also has fun experimenting in the kitchen, adding pineapple to almost any savoury dish from sweet and sour chicken to salsa. And while she doesn't often eat fast food, she's all for the addition of pineapple on top of burgers and pizzas.

"Yes to all of it!" she said. "I’m always encouraging variety and diversity in products and lots of colour." 

But the ultimate way to enjoy some the golden fruit?

"Fresh pineapple with chopped fresh mint is probably one of the best combinations you can get."

Featured image: Supplied